Just like thousands of other children, my son advanced from 4th to 5th grade this week.
Just like thousands of other moms, I have to blog about it. 😉
In my day (how much does THAT sound like my mother?!?), during that first week when school was over, we checked the mailbox every day for a manila envelope that would bring our fate for the summer, and for the next year. That was it. No party, no ceremony, no fanfare whatsoever, just the anticipation of that envelope. When it did finally arrive, it was a mad dash to the kitchen table (where everything important happened). Fumbling fingers, madly ripping, then intense scrutiny. There was only one word written in English on the entire report, the rest being some alien language for all we cared at that moment, the word was either Pass or Fail. I don’t know what happened to the kids who read the word Fail on that day. I can imagine their worlds pretty much ending at that point.
If the word was Pass, there was maybe a quick little happy dance, and relief. A huge sigh and release of breathe I had been holding since the start of the last week of school. Then, like blowing out a candle flame, it was over. A brief glance at grades, a shout of “I Passed” ringing through the house, then it was all forgotten, and I was free to enjoy the entire summer without thinking about school once!
Today is different. Today they dress up in nice clothes, they have “completion ceremonies” and end of school parties, and as parents, our entire worlds revolve around “Graduation Week” for kiddos passing from one grade to the next. Today, the children know long before school is out if they pass or fail, and the only mystery is what kind of cupcakes Timmy’s mom is bringing to the party.
Regardless of how kids move into summer, with a quiet sigh or a loud bang, it means they are growing up. Laying down old tools and toys, and picking up new ones. We parents, we are growing too. We grow from focusing every minute of our love and attention on our fragile little creations to, “Mom, please don’t kiss me in front of my friends, it’s embarrassing!” (Insert a mothers quiet sob here!)
This year will be a year of change and challenge for our family. This is one of those points in life where we as parents have to look up, stop, smell the roses, and pay attention. Our son is at that twilight age, that strange age between being a little boy and being a teenager.
I remember, not that long ago, when my son first began to cut that invisible chord between us with the simple phrase, “I Do It!”. There are a lot more “I do it’s” these days. I guess my education comes in knowing when to step back, and how far.
I’m keeping my eyes open. I am cherishing these days, as I have all the ones before it, but I have learned that no matter how much I cherish them, they still slip by, and I’m left with sorrow at the time gone, and joy as I look forward to new days and new experiences.
The past is in the gloaming. The future, our future, is in the dawn.